What’s So Great About Being on the Sidelines

I really, really wanted to race Ironman California this year. But not being in it wasn’t so bad. I still woke up at an insane hour (2:35 a.m.) to drive down there. I still got butterflies as soon as my car passed San Onofre – like Pavlov’s dog, my body is trained that anything that far south involves a triathlon or a mud run. I still had a pre-race breakfast of a Clif Bar, banana, and coffee.

Here’s what made my day:

1. I stopped to talk to a couple because the guy was wearing a Red Sox cap. Very cool couple with an amazing comeback story to come (I hope).
2. I spotted Ryan in the corrals looking more happy than nervous.
3. I got to see the pros swim right by me in what looked like an all-out sprint as the sun came up.
4. I actually spotted Ryan again on the swim. He wears a sleeveless wetsuit, so even I (Miss Magoo) could spot him.
5. I saw how far I swam last year. And you know what? It didn’t look that bad.
6. I met a cute older woman, patiently knitting in the bleachers by the finish line. Turns out we both went to Syracuse. We talked about dorms, basketball, New York and Massachusetts. We talked about triathlon and Oceanside. After about 30 minutes, she finally mentioned she was Joanna Zeiger’s mother. Then we talked even more about triathlon. She was waiting for her other daughter to finish the race. What a hoot.
7. I met another woman who was waiting for her husband. We hit it off. She had a still camera. I had a video camera. So I offered to take some video of her husband to show their young kids later. We hung out all afternoon together. It was good to have some company. Her husband was in the same age group as Ryan and they did it in almost the exact same time.
8. I got seven women to scream, “Go, Ryan!” very loudly as he came out of T2, which caught the attention of Mike Riley.
9. I got Mike Riley to say Ryan’s name on the mike before he did Ironman St. George.
10. I got to see some incredibly fast athletes.
11. I got to see some cool bikes.
12. I saw three out of eight friends on the course. (Sorry to all those who I missed.) And heard Mike Riley announce two others as I was looking them up in Athlete Tracker on my Blackberry at precisely the wrong time. (Yeah, you Tawnee! Darn it.)
13. I got to soak up the Ironman California atmosphere and the culmination of all that hard training for so many – 2100 athletes.
14. I went home with feet so sore that it almost felt like I raced.
15. I realized I WANT to do it AGAIN.